T he renovation of the Whitehall High School auditorium remains on target and is expected to be ready for graduation, according to school officials.
“Right now the plan is for graduation to be held in the auditorium,” said James Watson, district superintendent. “There probably will not be any carpeting, but we’re confident we’ll be adequately equipped to hold graduation.”
The timely delivery and installation of seating remains the single biggest factor to whether the auditorium will be ready for next Friday’s commencement ceremonies.
Watson said he received an email Monday morning notifying him that the seating had arrived in Long Beach, Calif., and was scheduled to arrive in Whitehall on Monday, June 18.
Once it has arrived, it’s estimated that the contractors can complete installation in three days, leaving officials with roughly a 24- to 36-hour window before graduation.
“Seating remains the biggest hitch,” said Watson.
If the delivery is delayed until the middle or the end of next week, graduation will be moved to the high school gymnasium, which is adequate for the number of people but could be a little uncomfortable without air conditioning.
Fifth- and sixth-grade graduation ceremonies, scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday of next week, will be held in the gymnasium.
Although the auditorium appears to be a long way from complete with no seating and carpeting, contractors have completed much of the work already.
The concrete floor has been prepped and will be carpeted once the seating has been installed. The carpet is estimated to take a day and a half to complete and the current plan is for it to occur following graduation.
The stage has been completely finished and most of the interior lighting, with a few exceptions, has been installed.
“The house lighting is very nice. Our goal was to get rid of some of the shadows and we’ve done that. The light is nice and even,” Watson said.
Crews have also completed the installation of a new projector system and sound checks have begun. The stage curtains will be cleaned next week.
The renovation of the auditorium is the second phase of a two-phase project.
The first phase, which began in mid-September and was completed in early October, included the replacement of the auditorium roof.
The second and larger phase of the project began near the end of March and the final steps will stretch beyond graduation.
The total cost of the project, including the replacement of the roof, is approximately $625,000.
“We’re moving along,” said Watson. “It’s close. It’s just a matter of coordinating the contractors and finishing the fine tuning.”